The Houston Texans and J.J. Watt share optimism that the five-time All-Pro defensive end could return from a torn pectoral muscle in time for the playoffs, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports.

There's reportedly even a glimmer of hope that Watt could play in Week 17.

Watt suffered the injury in October and was expected to miss the rest of the season, but the Texans are reserving their final IR-return spot for Watt, Rapoport adds.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year has progressed in his recovery and will undergo an MRI in a few weeks.